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JPF TALK – Featuring Ding Yifei

Amateur futbol players aka Weekend Warriors, have you thought of improving your weekend game but no one to turn to for advice?  In this episode of JPF TALK, Junpiter Futbol has invited Futbol Fitness &

Amateur futbol players aka Weekend Warriors, have you thought of improving your weekend game but no one to turn to for advice?  In this episode of JPF TALK, Junpiter Futbol has invited Futbol Fitness & Conditioning trainer, Ding Yifei, to share some exercises and tips on how you can improve your game! Junpiter Futbol believes amateur futbol players do deserve professional advice too! 

Ding Yifei, a professional Futbol Fitness & Conditioning trainer, who majored in Sports Science, used to be part of the Albirex Niigata Singapore and Home Utd youth coaching teams. He is also a certified Strength & Conditioning specialist and an AFC (Asian Football Association) qualified futbol coach where he works closely with elite players from the S-League and National youth setup. 

Q&A

JPF: Not all players have the stamina to last a full game. So how can an amateur player train himself during the weekdays taking into consideration most of them are working 5days a week.

DYF: Honestly you will need a very motivated amateur player to do his own extra training and conditioning in his spare time. Even the pros have problem. To improve futbol fitness, you can do some simple interval training at stadium’s running track, a park or somewhere which is safe, do a 30 seconds high intensity run followed by 30 seconds slow jog for 20 sets. 

Another simple exercise, instead of taking the lift, you might want to climb up the stairs. Either you do a quick-step climbing or multiple-step climbing, these exercises can train the quickness of feet and lower-limb power respectively. 

And as a matter of fact, the game itself is the best exercise/training. What could be the most effective method to improve your play than to spend more time at the game itself!

JPF: How can a player train to out-jump an opponent for a header? How about header accuracy and power?

DYF: Few pointers to note, first is plyometric training. Plyometric training means training that involves explosive movement that happens very quickly. This plyometric training is normally low in volume like 10 repetitions in a set but done with maximum intensity. It involves long rest periods in between repetitions and sets. You may do exercises like tuck jump, sprints or even single leg hops in multiple directions. 

Play other sports like tennis, table-tennis, volleyball and badminton to improve spatial perception, therefore improving heading accuracy. Spatial perception is the ability to judge distance, space, timing and speed of objects. For example, when you approach a tennis ball which is served over by the opponent, you will need to judge the distance to approach the ball, your body posture to receive that ball and the timing and angle to swing your racquet to hit the ball. In another word, you will have to make a decision before the ball comes. These games can improve your reflection and quick decision-making. During the English League off season, games such as tennis and volleyball are the most popular among the futbol players.

JPF: How to improve one’s kicking power? Be it a goal-kick or a long shot at goal.

DYF: Basically a powerful shot is a combination of good technique and power. Train more on a single leg jumps to improve power. Hope on one leg as high as possible for 10 repetitions (this is one set). Complete 4 sets. Juggle the ball in between each set for 3 minutes. This exercise will increase your leg power gradually as you increase the repetitions. 

For goal kick, you will have to strike the ball lower than its centre (of the ball) to get height in its trajectory. And the run up will be longer to generate more power for distance. For a shot at goal, it is more on accuracy and striking the ball to keep it on target. Also depending on what kind of shot you are trying, there will be a difference on where you connect with the ball, the ankle of our kicking foot and the part of the foot. So while warming up for your weekend game, you can practise your long shot, long crossing and even goal-kick!

JPF: How to train body strength to resist all body challenges and tackles?

DYF: Basic push ups, pull ups, lower limbs jumps and core exercises such as tuck jumps and flutter kicks would be sufficient for amateur players to develop general futbol fitness. And if to be specific, I would advise work-desk-bound amateur players to focus more on lower limps exercises such as squats or lunges, as these group of players spend most of their time sitting down in the office!

JPF: Will the performance of a player’s be enhanced should he follows any specific diet days prior to a weekend game? Any advice for the breakfast before the game, replenishment during and after the game?

DYF: It is recommended that last meal be consumed 3 to 4 hours prior to a game. you can consume a light pre-game meal 1 to 2 hours before a game, for example, you can have a set of kaya toast (without butter) with half boiled eggs, iced milo and a banana. Or you may choose a typical local delight such as kway-tiao soup or porridge as a decent breakfast prior to a weekend game. A snack bar like chewy bar that is low in fats can be eaten 45 minutes before a game too.

Isotonic drink or even plain water is alright for an amateur game. Consume food that is low in fats and rich in carbohydrate and protein after a game such as baked fish and pasta. Or you may choose rice with soya chicken. For amateur player, there is no rush to replenish your energy stores in such a hurry. You only need to replenish your carbohydrates 2 hours after a game if you have training or a game the next day or very soon. The above recommendation are sports specific and require high discipline to practice. I would recommend that an amateur player maintain a balance and healthy diet first before trying out a sports specific diet which is even harder.

We also do not recommend amateur to eat like a professional as amateur players do not train as much as the professionals do. Instead of enhancing their game, this might backfire, putting on additional weight for amateur players. Seriously, you won’t and can’t enjoy futbol as much as you want to if you are overweight.

Basically ensure you follow a balance diet that consists of fruits, vegetables, proteins and grains. Keep away from unhealthy food that is high in saturated fats like fried food. A balance diet is the most practical and realistic way to maintain a healthy physique to enjoy your game.

JPF: Final advice for JPF followers who seriously wants to improve their weekend game?

DYF: Do not stop learning. Learn from your team mate who plays better, learn from videos which Junpiter Futbol offers some good futbol skill videos too. Play more games. To play beautiful and simple futbol is the hardest. Be open to ideas and criticism if you want to improve your game. Remember, sometimes it is not playing sports to be fit rather it is about being fit to enjoy your sport!

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